April 25, 2012

Who placed and keep the banks on a eurozone knife-edge?

Sir, part of the problems with banks is that those same regulators who should have required equity from the banks when these placed sovereign loans on their books, but did not, because the regulators wished to consider these sovereigns as infallible, are now dumb enough to require the banks to immediately adjust to the fact that the sovereigns might not be so infallible after all. In other words, the banks are forced to deleverage, which hits of course the most those who require the most of bank equity, namely the officially decreed as risky, namely the small businesses and entrepreneurs, namely those least responsible for this crisis. 

In a period where countercyclical action is required, new bank equity should be raised to support new lending and not to cover capital requirements for old bad lending. But, even though Martin Wolf now begins to admit the need “to break the adverse loop between subpar growth, deteriorating fiscal positions, increasing recapitalization needs, and deleveraging”, he still refuses to do a full Monty disclosing the regulatory stupidity, probably because he does not want hurt his buddies, “Banks are on a eurozone knife-edge” April 25. 

Of course, it also reflects the fact that Martin Wolf, the chief economics commentator at FT, from an ideological point of view, much rather prefers government bureaucrats to run the Keynesian deficit spending he favors, than allowing the banks to allocate those resources without the interference of regulating bureaucrats. 

Yes banks are indeed on a eurozone knife-edge, but we surely need to look more into who placed them there and who keeps them there?